Joey Votto in no rush for a long-term contract

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All this talk about a contract extension for Adrian Gonzalez makes for a natural transition to National League MVP Joey Votto, who will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.

Votto earned $525,000 this past season while batting .324/.424/.600 with with 37 home runs, 113 RBI and a 1.024 OPS. Faced with potential that he could make $7 million as a first-timer through the process, the Reds appear interested in at least buying out his arbitration years. While many Reds fans are hoping to have him locked up for the long-term, Votto indicated to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he’s in no rush to sign an extension.

“I don’t know as far as beyond three years. I think it’s a real unfair question to ask,” Votto said. “This is not me saying I don’t want to be here. But last year was a difficult year for me. This year was a better year for me. It’s really hard for me to think three years ahead, five years ahead, seven years ahead or 10 years ahead. When [Troy] Tulowitzki signed that 10-year contract [with the Rockies], I was blown away. I can’t imagine seeing myself 10 years from now saying I want to be here. It’s an overwhelming thing to ask a young person like myself and say ‘here’s a lot of money. Be happy with this over 10 years, deal with it.'”

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty informed John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he has had preliminary discussions with Votto’s agent, but that they haven’t “talked numbers yet.” Meanwhile, Votto told Sheldon earlier today that he doesn’t plan to give the Reds any sort of hometown discount as part of a long-term deal.

“I’m not going to disrespect the people ahead of me that paved the way for those types of earnings and the people behind me that expect a certain amount or fair value,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt the people behind me. That’s not fair.”

It’s a harsh reality, but that doesn’t mean there’s any reason for panic here. Votto, 27, remains under team control through 2013, so there’s still ample time to negotiate.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.